Protesters gathered outside of Roasters Coffee in Pasco, Washington on June 27, to call attention to the business’s treatment of workers who support the movement for Black lives. The action lasted for three hours, taking place at the busy intersection of North Road 68 and Burden Boulevard. Roasters workers and other members of the community were among the protesters.
The protest was called for by Roasters employees after they were told to attend a short-notice meeting on June 24 if they supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Termination was threatened for any workers who did not attend. At the meeting, the Roasters workers were told that they would not be allowed to wear clothing expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Since the protest, additional information has been brought to light about Wes Heyden, owner and founder of Roasters. On June 28, Heyden wrote a Twitter thread using the now-deleted account @ResilientCoffee, in which he revealed he is a convicted sex offender while attacking the movement for Black lives.
Following the protest and these revelations, Heyden resigned his position at Roasters on June 29 according to an unnamed employee.
The Tri-Cities of Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco, Washington, have seen a massive wave of support for the national uprising against racism. This latest victory for the community and workers demonstrates the power of collective action for change.